Izaiho Exhibit to store memory of sacred ceremonies in Okinawa

<em>Izaiho</em> Exhibit to store memory of sacred ceremonies in Okinawa

On November 22 at the Ganju Station Nanjo in Chinen Kudeken, Nanjo City, visitors looked at photos of Izaiho.


December 3, 2014 Ryukyu Shimpo

From November 22 to 24 at Ganju Station Nanjo in Chinen Kudeken, the Nanjo City Tourism Association held a special exhibition “Kudaka Island Izaiho Exhibition – Hope and Appreciation woven by Kaminchu.” The exhibit presented pictures and films, which documented a sacred Izaiho ceremony, which ceased as of 1978. It also displayed attires, which kaminchu (sacred women) wore for a ceremony. The event attracted many visitors.

Izaiho is a ceremony for women who are between the ages of 30 and 41, born and raised in Kudaka Island, and married to men from the island. It initiates them as kaminchu. The ceremony is held on the island for four days from November 15 of the year of the horse in the lunar calendar. This year is an Izaiho year. However, the ceremony was canceled due to an absence of women who meet the criteria.

The exhibition introduces the process of the four-day ceremony with pictures and screens that document ceremonies held in 1966 and 1978. A golden jewel excavated from Sefa Utaki and replicas of Kikoeogimi’s (goddess in Ryukyuan mythology) costume are also displayed.

The Kudaka Island Products expo was also held at the venue on the same day. Yoko Fukuji and Setsuko Kohagura, who took part in Izaiho in 1978, sold homemade irabu-jiru or sea snake soup. Fukuji said, “It is sad that Izaiho will cease, but we cannot adjust the rules and lie to God. This is something we cannot help. It is great that photos and films are there. I hope many people will see them.”

On November 23, Professor Masanobu Akamine from the University of the Ryukyus gave a lecture.

(English translation by T&CT and Megumi Chibana)

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